Sunday, January 28, 2007

oops, how could I forget...

Yesterday, I received my check from Sallie Mae!

Who knows when I will ever see a check with an amount that high again.

Everyone loves Morrissey

Where have I been?

Did you know that there is a huge Morrissey fan scene in California, among Latino youth?

Did you know that there was a huge Morrissey fan scene?

I became a fan of The Smiths in college. However, I didn't know until last night that they actually broke up the same year that I discovered them. That's the kind of fan I am. I love the music, but I don't necessarily have to keep up on the artists themselves. Sometimes, that works to your advantage and then there is no chance that their real personalities or proclivities can disillusion you.

But after watching William E. Jones documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004) at the ADA Gallery, I saw that many of these young fans don't take that approach. Some comments made it seems as if they were talking about a religious figure, saying that when everything seems to be going wrong, 'HE is always there' or you can always 'depend on HIM'. Creepy.

There was some unintentional humor in the film (well, I don't think it was intended) where a member of the Smiths/Morrissey tribute band, Sweet & Tender Hooligans, spoke about his attraction to Morrissey's music alongside his dad. Having him do the interview with his dad was strange enough but it was hilarious seeing his father's facial reactions throughout the interview. The filmmaker kept them in a wide two-person shot so that you could catch every slight grimace, intake/outtake of air, or raised eyebrow that the man made in response to his son's declarations about the music, the man, and whether or not Morrissey was gay or celibate.

It a good film to see, it says a lot about how it is and was to be a teenager trying to find something that seemed to relate to what you were going through at the time. I know that I used Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me and Asleep to mend a few broken hearts and lift me up whenever I felt I wasn't worth anything. They always made me feel better, because after listening, I always realized that things really weren't that bad.

However, for Morrissey as a solo act, I never listened to him again. Apparently, it was his mournful sound contrasted with the usually more upbeat jingle jangly guitar of Johnny Marr that was my real attraction. I remember feeling that Morrissey wasn't a sincere individual, too tied up in building a particular image. So I guess I did find out too much about him as a person after all. Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So Out of Shape

I had no idea how out of shape I was in until last Wednesday. With my new schedule I do a lot of walking.

I signed up for campus parking late so I didn't get space in a lot on campus. My lot is about four blocks from my classrooms, which also makes it about three blocks from my apartment. So I end up practically walking all the way to class everyday.

So why did I pay over $100 for a spot in a lot? My apartment is in a commercial district so I am only allowed to park in the same spot for two hours at a time. So buying a spot that my car can stay in all day without bother was worth it.

On last Tuesday, the first day of classes, I drove to the lot and walked to my first class. My second class is just an hour after that class so I just stayed and ate lunch on campus. But after that class I walked home and got to be there for about three hours, ate my dinner, and then started out for my night class. Well even though I also have to walk to a class on Wednesday afternoon, the muscles didn't start screaming until Thursday when I started the walk back to campus for my last class of the week. WOW. Not only were my legs getting a workout but my heart and lungs were too, especially with the cold weather. The heart was pumping and the lungs were working harder just to get me through the cold. Believe me, I was not that happy when the temperature dropped far enough for it to snow. My next step should be to get a large and reliable travel thermos for hot tea or cider.

I also noticed that even though it is winter time, I'm now getting more sun exposure than ever. Because of my walking I am getting at least a half hour of exposure on Tues, Weds, & Thurs. (Yeah, it doesn't sound like much, but figure out how much true exposure you get to the sun during the weekday, not counting the time driving in your car. Sad, right?) Well, this is definitely helping my S.A.D. quotient and I am finally getting some of that Vitamin D that is produced through sunlight. Add these two things (sun, aerobic activity) to less stress from the job, and perhaps I can also start putting back some of the weight I lost (from the above work stress) and stop my hair from falling out. The hair and weight things are my most consistent signs of when I need to move away from something that is causing me more harm than good. In the past, my body has alerted me to toxic friendships, sucky job situations, and unsuccessful relationships. I trust it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Money, money, money

I received approval for both the Sallie Mae and Citibank school loans!

Citibank's CitiAssist decreased the amount that I asked for by $3,000 (?) but Sallie Mae will supply the complete amount. That amount will cover tuition for the three 2007 semesters (including the summer session), university fees, parking, textbooks, miscellaneous items, such as that CPS unit, plus a little extra.

I do still want to see the final interest rate figures from both lenders, but it looks like Sallie Mae will be the one.

I was also approved by another lender, but apparently my great credit rating didn't mean anything to them because they were still choosing to add a lot of additional fees even though I would already be in debt for the next 10-15 years. So, no thanks.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

First day first class

I slept in, a bit longer than I wanted (10 AM to get ready for an 11AM class!) I drove to my assigned parking lot, which is actually 3 blocks from my apartment and walked the remaining 5 blocks to class. I will get in shape whether I want to or not by tightening up the butt and conditioning the heart and lungs.

I love this Environmental Science class, and its instructor. This subject is so close to my heart. I am so happy that I will actually get to enjoy it and really study instead of immediately getting in a car and going to a job that morphs my brain in to pudding.

Even though I have been taking classes at this school since fall of 2004, I am just starting to see how different it is since I went there originally. It has become so technical and almost dependant on computers.

For large classes like this one, they now use CPS units, which transmit your answers electronically to the instructor's receiver, thus allowing them to take attendance, record student answers to tests/quizzes, and transport these grades to various computer programs. All of the lectures, additional readings, and grades are available on a website created by the textbooks' publisher. Through this site you can get all of your assignments in advance if you want. It also has the capability for you to make appointments for instructor meetings through online real time chats.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I just received my first textbook through Alibris and I am very impressed. This book, which would have been $144 if I bought it on campus, only cost me $102 dollars.

This is a brand new book, published this year, 2007. I ordered it on Friday and the seller Bookholders shipped it that day. What great service. The book is in pristine condition, the pages are as if I was the first to open it. I definitely will be ordering my books this way from now on.

I will be receiving my other textbook ($50 on campus) from Midtown Scholar Bookstore for $17! This one is used but was described as being in great condition. I can't wait to see how their description matches up.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The not-so-little Schoolgirl

1. I ordered my textbooks and instead of buying through the school's bookstore I ordered them through Alibris, and saved $79!

2. I finalized my schedule:

Environmental Science and its required Lab will complete my laboratory science requirement

Aesthetics and Modern Theories of Art will complete my Aesthetics or Criticism requirement

African and Oceanic Art will be 1 of the 2 classes needed for the Non-Western art component

After these three classes I only need 3 more general History classes and 4 more Art History classes:
  • One Art History elective ( hopefully it can be Historical Preservation & Architectural History if taught by another instructor than this evil little man.)
  • One in Prehistoric, Ancient, Classical or Medieval art
  • Two in Renaissance and Baroque (24th-28th Century Europe and the Americas)
  • One other class in the Non-Western art category (Africa, Asia, Oceania, Islamic, Pre-Columbian, or Native American)
* It seems these last three categories are the ones that are hard to get because they rarely have the faculty to teach these, so you have to grab them when you can.*

Monday, January 01, 2007

I yam what I yam

A year ago today due to horrific tragedies here in Richmond, I began think about how I wanted to live my life, what I wanted to get out of it, and what kind of legacy I would want to leave behind.

Also at that time, I thought about starting a blog to express my thoughts, to map out my projects, and to find like-minded people. I am so glad that I did that and I hope that in the new year I will be able to expand on accomplishing the goals that I made for myself back then. The next couple of posts will be about the things I've learned about myself and where I stand.

Today I want to list the movies and books that have influenced me and what lessons I have taken from them. I hope that they can also help others.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Film) (Book by Harper Lee) - Honor and Justice

Either see the movie or read the book. Both are excellent.

Inherit the Wind - Free Thought/ Anti-Censorship

I just saw this movie for the first time on New Year's Eve. Though a bit prejudiced in its portrayal of the religious figures in the town, it is still a great movie with a great message. Man has a right to question and make his own opinion, even when regarding religion.

The Girl in the Cafe - Domestic and Global Compassion

I LOVE this film. A young Scottish woman meets a man in a cafe and ends up interrupting the British Prime Minister's speech at the 2005 G8 summit in Reykjavik by clicking her fingers every 3 seconds to mark a child dying of extreme poverty in Africa. You must see this film.

What Should I do with My Life? by Po Bronson - Follow Your Dreams

Real life accounts of people
who listened to their hearts and deviated their life paths to follow them. Some fought the seduction of $$$, what was expected of them, or staying the course of what they originally set out to be. All are incredibly brave people.

Any Jane Austen book - The Importance of Communication

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Sarcasm

It's also wickedly funny, while it plays upon the ideas of environmentalism, greed, bigotry, sloth, and spot on sarcasm.

"In the beginning, the Universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad idea."

Hoping for a better year my friends...

Goals for the new year:

  • Take more classes, work less hours
  • Excel in school
  • Explore careers involving historic preservation of buildings
  • Make new friends
  • Volunteer more of my time.
  • Explore more subjects in depth
  • Find a way to travel more
  • Suffer less fools
  • Support the dreams of others who supported my own
  • Find love and more ways to show love
  • Stay true to myself
  • Live each day to its fullest